Styled Shoots || Benefits and Etiquette Pointers

What is a styled shoot you may ask?

Exactly what the name implies– a shoot that was styled, and isn’t in fact a client or a paid gig. Most photographers and other amazing vendors now-a-days are creating, styling, hosting or participating in a styled shoot of some magnitude. Now here’s some of the cool things that benefit you in a styled shoot.


Generally speaking, there are different stations depending on what type of shoot it is. I’ve done boudoir, party, but generally they are wedding styled shoots. You usually have a cake, florals, models, sometimes you’ll have ceremony spaces, table set ups, and extras depending on who is involved.


  1. You get to meet new people that you may not have been able to meet with and work with before.
  2. You now have an arsenal of “friend-ors” that you can refer people to, if you liked the content/desert/styling they created
  3. You get a bunch of content, whether a photographer, baker, stylist, calligrapher, dress company, model, florist, rentals, etc etc etc.
  4. You can get published by online and print publications or websites
  5. You have the opportunity to get your name out there from word of mouth or other people sharing your work (whether a photographer or other vendor)



  1.  You will find people that you do not mesh with. It’s pretty inevitable and along with friends, you find the people you would rather not work with.
  2. Sometimes it can cost a lot of money to help other vendors pay costs (like flowers are HELLA expensive though)
  3. As a photographer, there may be too many people and you will not get the shots you want.


 A little advice, a little vent, a little rant and rave… don’t be THAT photographer y’all. Obviously many times you’ve bought a ticket that guarantees you a spot at this affair. PLEASE, Do not act like you are the only photographer there or you are more important that anyone else that is in attendance at the event. I have attended close to 15 styled shoots, whether I’ve hosted or bought a ticket and participated, and at the ones where I wasn’t the only photographer, I have gotten frustrated because someone was in a sense overstepping the boundary.

 I’ve heard from other photographers (because we like to whine, come on) that they felt frustrated as well. If you didn’t get your shot, sucks but move your ass. You need to realize that there are other people at these events as well, that paid the same amount as you to be there. If you wanted to be front and center and not have to worry about other people being in the way, you need to set up your own styled shoot where you are the main and only photographer.

It really is a tragedy when so much work goes into a styled shoot and you cannot capture the things to the best of your abilities because someone is front and center all the time. If you think I’m talking about you, I probably am and you should probably get out of the way a little bit more and be conscious about yourself. #sorrynotsorry

I attended a really cool concept for a styled shoot in where there were a bunch of girls having a girls party that was full of color, amazing decor and treats. I took 520-ish Photos for reference. I just went through and edited the ones I like…. 22.


The frustrating part of all of it was that it made me look bad that I couldn’t deliver. I never heard back from the lady who put that styled shoot together (who, mind you, I expressed my annoyance and displeasure to while at the styled shoot) after I sent those 22 pictures, and it probably cost me some great exposure and some great “friendships” that could have resulted in business from word of mouth from other vendors. This is something that not everyone thinks about when they do a styled shoot, but trust me, it’s something I think of all the time now.

Needless to say, that has been my last styled shoot where I wasn’t the sole photographer. And it put a bitter taste in my mouth. Which really sucks, but hey, you win some, you lose some and I’ve lost my appetite for styled shoots.


But seriously, I’ve asked quite a few people, photographers and other wedding vendors their thoughts on styled shoots, and here were some of the things they had to say:

-“HATE THEM! Most are unorganized and overcrowded.”- MK

-“They get out of control and some of the people hog the subjects.” -CD

-“Timing being against us.”-AT

-“I love them, however, I have done a few where I do so much custom work and I don’t get the photos I want.” -SW

-“Pro: Gorgeousness. Con: Photographers are crazy like hungry vultures.”-CB

“Pro- the photos from something you can take your time doing are worth the pain. Con-too much to coordinate for my artist brain.”-CH

“Take care of the models!! A lot of styled shoots I’ve been in had no regards for the models schedule, i.e. running late, not providing water/snacks, not scheduling breaks between sets, etc.” -MS

If you’ve done a styled shoot, what is one thing you experienced that was great or not? Leave me a comment below!

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